PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — Federal funding is coming to Bradley University.

U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) was at Bradley University Tuesday to announce $850,000 in federal funding to support “state-of-the-art training and education to nursing students.”

As healthcare systems nationwide search for nurses, U.S. Senator Dick Durbin-(D), said Illinois is no different as the workforce ages.

“Statewide more than 50 percent of our nurses are over the age of 55 and nearly 30 percent plan to retire in the next 5 years,” Durbin said.

Durbin said the shortage is leading to long hours and burnout, which could impact patient care.

“An inadequate nursing workforce has been linked to higher hospital re-admission, increased likelihood of infection in hospitals, and unnecessary death,” Durbin said.

Tuesday, Senator Durbin, announced $850,000 dollars in federal funding to support Bradley University’s nursing program. The funds will be used to install a state-of-the-art multi-patient nursing simulation lab.

“This simulation expansion will allow students to access high-fidelity mannequins to provide medically immersive, real-life simulated medical scenarios,” said Dr. Jessica Clark, Dean of the College of Education and Health Sciences at Bradley University

The funding will also create a workforce development program, allowing certain Peoria Public high school students to use the labs and simulators.

“What I would really like them to do is just have the opportunity to touch things and ask questions, think about maybe how they would react with things like blood and body fluids,” Clark said.

Training students in the Peoria area, Durbin said will help keep them in the region as they start their careers.

“They do their clinical work there, their life experience is there, they feel at home there,” Durbin said.

Clark said Bradley is planning for the new nursing simulation center to be operational within the next four to five months.

Watch the full press conference below: