Manitoba Public Insurance [MPI] intends to invest Cdn$5 million over the next three years in a training partnership aimed at Manitobas commercial trucking business. Over the next three years, annual injections of Cdn$1.65 million will help up to 750 Manitobans become Class 1 drivers a skill in serious demand as the trucking industry deals with higher standards and impending retirements, MPI announced in a press release. The training initiative is intended to offset the tuition costs for training up to 250 professional drivers annually to National Occupational Standards. The program would be available to trucking companies that insure their fleets with Special Risk Extension [SRE]. SRE is separate line of business run by the commercial trucking arm of MPI that competes for commercial trucking business with other insurance companies throughout Canada. None of the funding will come from Basic Autopac customers, MPI noted in the release. We are dedicated to supporting Manitobas trucking industry, which that has supported our SRE line of business in the past, said MPI president and CEO Marilyn McLaren. This initiative helps our customers meet the increasingly competitive demands for employees, enabling them to continue to be successful and grow. About 430 companies including about a dozen with more than 150 vehicles in their fleet make up Manitobas Cdn$1.2-billion-a-year trucking industry. The industry accounts for about 33,000 direct and indirect jobs. Manitoba minister of infrastructure and transportation Ron Lemieux said the program would help address the serious shortage of truck drivers in Manitoba. Hampered in recent years by a shortage of drivers, the industry believes it needs to attract about 15,000 new drivers to Manitoba companies over the next 15 years simply to sustain the current workforce.