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  • Writer's pictureReach University

Celebrating Trailblazing California Leaders: The 2024 James Irvine Foundation Leadership Awards

The James Irvine Foundation has proudly unveiled the recipients of its 2024 Leadership Awards, recognizing the exceptional contributions of nine leaders from six organizations dedicated to addressing pressing challenges facing Californians - including Reach University's very own Provost, Dr. Liz Baham, and SVP of Workforce Development and Dean of Admissions, Héctor Camacho Jr.

This year's awardees represent a diverse array of innovators, focusing on issues such as teacher preparation, youth justice, college access and completion, and the well-being of Asian American and Pacific Islander, LGBTQ+, refugee, and immigrant populations.

For Liz & Héctor, a long-standing commitment to solving the state's representative and qualified teacher shortage through Reach's job-embedded programs is at the heart of their award recognition.

Every year, the Leadership Awards celebrate individuals and organizations committed to innovation, showcasing a proven track record of success in improving lives, creating opportunities, and contributing to a better California. The Irvine Foundation also aids recipients in sharing their successful approaches with policymakers and practitioners.

California Governor Gavin Newsom commended the awardees, stating, "The California Way means finding new solutions to big problems, and that’s exactly what these leaders have demonstrated through their innovative work to enhance teacher preparation, youth justice, college access and completion, and the health and safety of California’s diverse communities."

Learn more about Liz, Héctor, and their game-changing efforts to remove the forced choice between a job and a degree for thousands of working adults, please watch the below video, featuring Reach teacher candidate, Jovan Lowe of Peralta Elementary, and partner, President Kalimah Salahuddin of Jefferson Union High School District:

Since 2006, The Irvine Foundation has celebrated over 100 leaders in California, with the selection of Award recipients conducted by an independent committee. Criteria include the significance, effectiveness, innovation, and inclusion demonstrated in the leader's work.

For more details about the work of this year’s recipients, please visit

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