Brain Drain Series: ‘I Don’t Want To Move Back Without Something Lined Up’

WFPL has been exploring the idea of “Brain Drain” and Louisville’s ability to keep talented young professionals in the city. What challenges does the city face? What do young workers think about staying in the River City?

In this third installment, we meet Deborah Gray, a Louisville native who has since moved to Houston.

Gray went to Sacred Heart Academy in Louisville and then attended Tulane University. She graduated at the top of her economics class and returned to Louisville for two years to work.

But she wasn’t satisfied with her job and says she felt that her degree and skills weren’t being appreciated. So, she and her husband left for Houston, where he attended school and jobs were more abundant.

“Here, connections are really important to get my resume through the door. But I felt like in Louisville, if I didn’t know somebody in Louisville it was going to be harder to get a job. And I didn’t think they valued my education as much as people did here.”

Why is that?

“Houston has more companies. So in terms of job searching it made it easier for me to figure out what I wanted by having more choices, which obviously a smaller city wouldn’t have that. But they did seem more open to recent graduates than Louisville did. I felt like the big companies in Louisville weren’t as interested in recent graduates. They were more interested in experience.”

What are your thoughts on Louisville?

“I love the city, we miss it a lot. We loved living there, certainly plenty of entertainment, especially for a small city there’s tons of good restaurants, tons of things to do and it was fun to live there after high school and experience new things about the city I wouldn’t have done as a kid.”

What do you think about Houston?

“Houston is growing on me a lot more. It’s not exactly beautiful but it’s also really fun and has a ton of things to do. It’s just harder to get to know it quickly because it’s so spread out.”

Would you consider moving back to Louisville?

“I would love to move back. My family is near there and my husband’s family is all there and we still keep up really well with all of our friends. So we would love to move back but I don’t want to move back without something lined up that I would be excited about job-wise.”

(Image via Shutterstock.com)

Devin Katayama

Devin Katayama host middays for WFPL and reports on education and other Louisville issues.

@DevinWFPL

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