In an effort to combat rising unemployment in North Carolina, the has created a $3.5 million grantmaking program to train people for jobs.

The Golden LEAF Opportunities for Work initiative aims to provide short-term vocational and technical training that would allow workers to move into full-time permanent jobs that currently are available.

Priority will be given to opportunities available in tobacco-dependent, rural or economically-distressed areas.

"With two-thirds of North Carolina counties at unemployment rates over 10 percent, Golden LEAF is taking quick action to fund projects that will put people in good jobs as fast as possible," Dan Gerlach, president of the foundation, says in a statement.

The foundation will operate three grant cycles until the $3.5 million is exhausted. Application deadlines are April 30, June 30 and August 1.

Additional information is available on the foundation’s Website.