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 fourth installment, we meet Evan Shepherd, a University of Louisville McConnell Scholar from Madisonville, Ky. who says he’s decided to leave Louisville after graduating next May.
“I know I want to practice law but I’m not sure what type of law so I want to go to the law school that’s going to afford me the widest possible range of opportunities and places to go. Louisville has a very good law school—definitely improving—but you’re still somewhat limited in the places you can go. I couldn’t go to New York or Los Angeles and just get a job simply by the name on my degree.”
You say you’ve begun to fall in love with Louisville, what about the city do you like?
“I lived in London for four months and it’s weird that I would compare Louisville to London but it’s one of those cities where I’m never without something I haven’t done. There’s always something that someone’s like, Oh you should try this out…..and I’m like, You know I’ve never heard of that.”
What does Louisville lack?
“Louisville is a perfect mix of a northern city with a southern culture, that’s how I try to describe it to people—how polite everyone is, I love the people the culture the feel of being in a southern city but at the same time I like the opportunity and quickness of living in a New York or a London….so for the same reason I think Louisville is attractive, I also find it unattractive when you’re 25 to 38 and trying to dive into something.”
“I think what Louisville is lacking are the industry, that business that would keep you somewhere. Louisville has a good base of jobs but at the same time most of them are mid-management, those type of jobs and when you’re looking at where the things happen….if you’re talking about government a lot of things happen in DC; if you’re talking about money and banking its New York; if you’re talking about entertainment it’s California. And as a country that’s where those industries have centered and because of that I think a lot of the intelligence and a lot of the people who have large ideas get drawn to those three areas simply because that’s where the business is centered.”
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