Ups and downs: Students tour Volvo plant as both layoffs and expansion continue

Company leaders say they’re matching demands in trucking market

PULASKI COUNTY, Va. – Eager young students got an up-close look at the high-tech equipment inside Volvo’s massive Dublin plant Monday, as the workers they observed deal with the positives and negatives of the trucking industry.

10 News was the only TV station watching as dozens of these future engineers -- local middle schoolers who are interested in STEM learning -- got to see the robotics inside the cab assembly plant.

“I want to be an engineer. It helps me get a good perspective of what they do and how they do it.” Auburn Middle School 8th grader, Joshua Parsons, said.

The students were from the Pulaski County, Montgomery County and Radford city school systems and most were members of robotics teams.

The plant’s general manager, Franky Marchand, said the event is a way for the company to give back to the community.

“Once you get engaged in something cool like STEM, which some of us believe very strongly in, it’s a gift that keeps on giving,” Marchand said.

He added that hands-on STEM learning gives them invaluable skills, and these kids could very well be working there one day.

“Let them practice things, and not just the technology, but the working together part. They are working together, collaborating, solving problems together, and that is worth gold for any job,” he said.