WAYNE, Neb. -- "Recruiting, training, and retaining the behavioral health workforce,” said Director Ciera Afrank.

This is the focus of the Behavioral Health Education Center of Nebraska. 

Its northeast site at Wayne State College, was recently established on June 20, working to spread its mission statewide. 

"Really recognizing the rural and underserved populations who don't necessarily have the access to services,” Afrank said. 

BHECN was created in 2009 by the Nebraska legislature to help develop the behavioral health workforce, which is now facing a shortage. 

"Our workforce currently 88 of out 93 counties in Nebraska are behavioral health profession shortage areas,” Afrank said. 

BHECN Northeast will target the needs of the northeast area, but also help students ease into their professional development.  

"That will include mentorship opportunities, networking, professional trainings, and all kinds of support that just make those steps so much easier for them,” Afrank said. 

Although the site is on campus for students, it will also serve active professionals to expand the ability to do regional services.  

"Making connections with providers and stakeholders of all kinds across the state to really just assess what those needs are and what people are wanting,” Afrank said.