Carroll Daniel is committed to building opportunities for the future workforce. One of the ways in which we support this effort for our region is by hosting the Northeast Georgia (NEGA) Skills Challenge, in conjunction with the Associated General Contractors (AGC) of Georgia, at the Chicopee Woods Agricultural Center each year. We also partner with amazing AGC member contracting firms to showcase rewarding construction career opportunities to student competitors and observers and give students the opportunity to receive job offers from participating industry representatives.

The NEGA Skills Challenge is one of eight annual regional competitions throughout the state. The Skills Challenge closely aligns with our Carroll Daniel Academy, which we designed to develop our people professionally and personally, to equip our team members with the skills they need to not only become proficient in their current roles but also to prepare them for the future, building their careers here and developing the company from the inside out.

The annual Skills Challenge competition series allows high school students enrolled in construction programs who are interested in a career in the Architecture, Engineering and Construction (AEC) industry to highlight their talents in a hands-on and real-world environment, while competing for awards and technical training scholarships. The Challenges are judged by seasoned industry professionals.


This year, we welcomed more than 200 student competitors from 19 regional schools who competed in 11 different trade categories ranging from blueprint reading to carpentry, cabinet making, HVAC, electrical, plumbing, masonry, welding and more. We also had over 350 students and high school principals and superintendents observing and cheering on their schoolmates.

AGC of Georgia created the Skills Challenge to address the critical workplace shortage that challenges the AEC industry at both the state and national levels. The Skills Challenges are part of a statewide education-based workforce development program geared toward helping people better understand the importance of construction curricula for students in public education.

Due to factors like cost and time commitment, the number of students who are transitioning directly from high school to technical colleges or trade schools has more than doubled in the past two decades, and Career, Technical and Agricultural Education (CTAE) is now part of the Georgia Standards of Excellence. The AEC industry is represented within CTAE’s Ten Program Concentrations. The program is a collaborative effort of secondary and post-secondary school instructors and the Governor’s Strategic Industries and Workforce Development Task Force.

Community and industry support is critical to the success of this event. Carroll Daniel engages and works with state and regional leaders to introduce them to the statewide workforce development program and the many career opportunities available in the AEC industry. The Skills Challenges directly address these issues by offering students work-based learning opportunities as they transition from high school to technical and trade colleges. The Skills Challenges give these important stakeholders the opportunity to learn more about AGC of Georgia’s initiatives and how the future AEC workforce is crucial to our regional and state economy.

To raise awareness about the NEGA competition and ensure that state and regional leaders attend them, Carroll Daniel engages industry and community leaders such as:

  • CTAE directors.
  • School system superintendents, principals, counselors and school boards.
  • Local business leaders.
  • Local and state media outlets.
  • Mayors and city/county leadership.
  • State legislators, senators and lobbyists.
  • Representatives from the Georgia Department of Education and the Technical College System of Georgia.

Since its inaugural year, the NEGA Skills Challenge has grown to over 400 student competitors from nearly two dozen school construction programs with thousands more students attending to learn about careers in the AEC industry. The eight regional Skills Challenges held throughout Georgia hosts over 2,300 students from nearly 100 schools.

Regional winners compete in the statewide SkillsUSA competition held in March each year at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta.

Sponsorship dollars for all eight of the annual statewide Skills Challenges go toward industry-related prizes from the AGC partner organizations for the category winners.