A JOBS expo at the Dapto Ribbonwood Centre this week attracted more than 500 jobseekers.
Illawarra Priority Employment Area local employment co-ordinator Jane Robinson said the expo featured businesses that had received grants through the Illawarra Region Innovation and Investment Fund (IRIIF), which was established following BlueScope's restructure in 2011-2012.
Ms Robinson said many of the businesses at the first expo had reached their job placement targets but those in the second round of the IRIIF were about to recruit.
"We have had between 500 and 600 people through," Ms Robinson said.
"It is bigger than last time. We have had over 300 jobs advertised. It has gone really well. We have done an exit survey of jobseekers ... and virtually all of them have said they found some job leads. One guy had eight job leads, which was amazing."
Jason Harris, of Selera, said it was the first time the IT business had attended such an expo in the Illawarra and it had enjoyed a great response.
"My day has been very productive," he said.
"The place was packed and the event has had a really good vibe to it. There have been a lot of really keen uni students and also people without formal qualifications looking for positions.
"We've seen a lot of good resumes. And it was encouraging for us to see there was such a good mix of businesses wanting to employ local people. We are looking to fill software support engineering positions to basically help our customers better use our products and services. We are looking for mainly IT developers, primarily junior staff because we want to grow people."
South Coast Private general manager and director of nursing Kim Capp said the first private mental health facility in the region opened last May at the old Rydges hotel.
"We are employing 50 full-time equivalents at the moment and are always employing new staff in a range of disciplines from nursing through to kitchen, administration and housekeeping," she said.
"I think we are a great employer for the region. And we are absolutely amazed about the great response this expo has had."
Marketing officer Laura James said she had been busy but the expo was very productive, with people of all ages coming forward to present their CVs.