A program that found jobs for almost 100 young people is aiming to improve on that figure in 2020.
IllawarraYES (Youth Employment Strategy) has received funding for another 12 months.
The program is run by the Illawarra Business Chamber and executive director Adam Zarth said it had found jobs for young people.
"In the last period of the IllawarraYES contract we dealt with 180 young people," Mr Zarth said.
"That involved counselling and and telling them about opportunities available to them through IllawarraYES. Of those we got more than 90 into paid employment.
"The minister [Gareth Ward] has issued the challenge to us to do better and get more young people into work and that's absolutely what we intend to do."
We got more than 90 into paid employment.Illawarra Business Chamber Executive Director Adam Zarth
The program works with young people aged 15-24 and Mr Ward said it aimed to connect youth with employers who have job vacancies.
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"There are a lot of very able, very talented young people in the region," Mr Ward said, "but the issue from my point of view then as it is now is making sure you connect young people with the skills they need and the employment opportunities that exist.
"It's recognising that we need to take young people on a journey through a training pathway.
"So we have jobs at the end of the pipeline and we have a young person at the beginning of the pipeline - what are the things they need to do to connect to training pathways with job opportunities?"
Program co-ordinator Glenn Fairweather said two job programs were starting up next month - with service and hospitality group Barringtons and disability services provider The Cram Foundation.
"It's really about getting out there and making connections with employers, identifying vacancies," Mr Fairweather said.
"We're really promoting that young people have a lot to offer. They have a lot of skills, they have the right attitude and we think they'll be really good employees in the future."
One employer that is participating in the program is the Stellar call centre.
Centre manager Matt Whiteside said they employed more than 400 Illawarra residents in their two call centres in the Wollongong CBD.
He said the IllawarraYES program offered "the ability for us to tap into local talent".