CHICAGO (WCIA) — More than $86 million is coming to the State of Illinois courtesy of the CDC.

The money, initially provided by the American Rescue Plan Act, is meant to support efforts to strengthen the state’s public healthcare workforce and infrastructure. That includes recruiting new healthcare workers, retaining current ones by preventing burnout and improving their skills through new training opportunities.

The Illinois Department of Public Health is specifically looking at workers like epidemiologists, contact tracers, laboratory scientists, community health workers, and data analysts.

“At no point in our state’s history has it been more clear how essential the work of public health professionals is to our collective well-being,” Governor Pritzker said in a statement. “With the support of President Biden and the CDC, we can now further strengthen this essential arm of state government and give hundreds of Illinoisans an opportunity to further their careers in this crucial and rapidly growing field. This investment in our state will result in more robust supports and better health outcomes for countless people across the state- particularly those on the margins who are most at-risk and in need of public health interventions.”

“The last two-plus years have underscored the critical, life-saving importance of our frontline public health workforce,” said IDPH Director Dr. Sameer Vohra. “We are very grateful to the CDC and the Biden Administration for this major infusion of federal funding that will strengthen efforts already underway at IDPH and with our local public health partners to prioritize health equity and create a more modern, resilient, and efficient public health department.”

The grant is also meant to address urgent and ongoing public health needs in economically or socially marginalized communities, rural areas and communities with people from racial and ethnic minority groups. In addition, the IDPH is planning to use some of the money to upgrade several of its systems and implement new ones.

A stronger public health infrastructure, officials said, will allow state and local agencies to ensure food and water is safe, detect and track diseases, stop outbreaks, provide child and maternal healthcare and monitor data.