Brain Waste

Brain Waste – The narrative in El Paso is that we suffer from a Brain Drain, and I wanted to explain why it is not a drain, yet a waste.  brain drain

Brain Drain refers to an emigration of skilled labor due to low quality of life, and little to no access to quality education. Where many members of our community are motivated to pick and leave our city for better educational job opportunities instead of being rewarded to stay and improve our city.

It’s not all bad news, as we have exceptional primary teachers and an excellent quality of life so many El Paso natives eventually find there way back to our city.  Also, the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) has been labeled as an “Emerging Tier One” University.  El Paso has been commended by media and other US city leaders as one of the safest big cities in the US.

We clearly have access to great educational institutions and have a very comfortable quality off like which draws highly talented people back to our city, but they are often under employed and despite being exceptionally capable, are not even close to as productive as possible.  We don’t have a brain drain, but we have a brain waste. Our City Government has not created the capacity to keep educated graduates here and rewarded for their lifetime. It is important our next leader understands the importance of encouraging rewarding work and incentives to keep our best and brightest here and engaged.


According the Migration Policy Institute, here are some interesting facts from key U.S. findings:

  • 1.6 million, or 23 percent, of the nearly 7.2 million college-educated immigrants ages 25 and older in the U.S. civilian labor force are affected by brain waste.
  • Brain waste particularly affects the foreign born who earned their bachelor’s degrees abroad, with 26 percent in low-skilled jobs or unemployed.
  • 20 percent of college-educated immigrants who obtained their academic degree abroad worked in low-skilled jobs, compared to 12 percent of college-educated native-born workers.

Brain Waste in the Texas Workforce
Twenty percent of the 556,000 college-educated immigrants ages 25 and older in the Texas civilian workforce are employed in low-skilled jobs or are unemployed, according to MPI analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data.


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