I write in response to the article “Economist: Maine ready to grow again” (Jan. 8). The author cites economist Charles Colgan, who is paraphrased as saying that Maine’s aging population is “the biggest dark cloud on the horizon for the Maine economy.”

While Maine faces challenges in being the oldest state, there are also opportunities that are important to acknowledge.

In 2011, the baby boomers began turning 65, marking the beginning of the greatest demographic shift in our nation’s history, a shift that will see one of every five Americans age 65 and older by 2050.

Boomers come with income, energy, skills and a commitment to give back. More than 33 million people over the age of 45 volunteered time and talents in 2012. The Kauffman Foundation finds that the highest rate of entrepreneurial activity is shifting to the 55-to-64 age group.

Boomers also feel a powerful sense of legacy to make this country stronger for their kids, grandkids and future generations.

Many companies and recruiters already recognize the benefits of employing workers ages 50 and older. Older employees are typically loyal, maintain a strong work ethic, have lower rates of turnover and absenteeism, are dependable in crises and are committed to quality work.

In 2012, AARP launched an interactive tool called Work Reimagined to serve as a gateway to the resources one needs to get the right job. In partnership with LinkedIn, Work Reimagined also showcases employers who are not only hiring, but also value the skill set of experienced workers. This is one tool that can help Maine employers meet experienced workers in our state.

By working together, and with the right vision and leadership, we can build a stronger economic future for Maine.

Lori Parham

state director, AARP Maine

Portland