Erik Butler

Erik Butler, PhD
Distinguished Scholar, Education Development Center

As Distinguished Scholar at Education Development Center, Dr. Butler designed and directed publicly and privately funded youth development programs for EDC in Africa, Eastern Europe, Southeast Asia and Latin America from 2006 to 2020, when he retired from project work. From 2009 to 2012 he was Director of EQUIP3, USAID's mechanism for global out-of-school youth initiatives, conducting projects in 25 countries, and was EDC's Team Leader for global Youth, Workforce, and Economic Growth. Erik has also served as senior advisor to the U.S. Department of Labor for youth development programs from 1999 to 2007, and worked with youth programs in more than thirty US cities, rural and tribal jurisdictions. Earlier, he was Executive Director of the White House Task Force on Youth Employment for President Jimmy Carter, and advisor on youth programs during the Clinton and Obama administrations. Describing himself as a "recovering academic", before joining EDC in 2006, he led his own consulting firm (Human Investment Institute LLC), served as Human Services Management Professor at Brandeis University, and was Professor of Education and the Economy at Michigan State University.  A trustee of the National Child Labor Committee from 1979 to 2018, chairing the Board for the last 15 years. He is a member of the Board of THRIVE/Gulu in northern Uganda, serving women and children affected by the conflicts there. In the 1990s he was President of Bay State Skills Corporation (a domestic NGO, now called the Commonwealth Corporation) in Massachusetts. Erik has Bachelor's, Master's, and Doctoral degrees in history, government, education, and social policy from Harvard University. He lives in the Massachusetts Berkshires with his partner Jane Laning, a psychotherapist.