Instead of taking the traditional retirement path, these older folks are starting new careers, earning college degrees, and learning new job skills. Some are doing it by choice; others because their stock portfolios haven't fully recovered from the stock-market slide. And the trend will continue, according to a recent study by The Concours Group, which found that some 80 percent of the baby-boomer generation says they intend to stay active in the workplace after retirement.

Their willingness to work couldn't come at a better time. James Seith, national program director of the Senior Community Service Employment Program for AARP says the growing U.S. economy and the aging baby-boomer population could result in a shortage of 10 million workers by the year 2010 - if all those boomers choose traditional retirement.

Luckily, it looks as if many of them will be available for work - and major corporations are seeing a golden opportunity. After all, these are potential employees with years of job experience who have developed strong leadership skills and an even stronger work ethic.

Home Depot recently launched a national hiring partnership with AARP designed to attract workers ages 50 and over. The company offers a full range of benefits to full- and part-time em-ployees, key for older workers, who often need greater access to medical care than younger employees do. Seith says this strategy is crucial to appealing to the 50-plus population. "More and more companies are understanding they need to be senior-friendly," Seith explains. "They're going to have to do more thinking about flextime, shared time, and transportation issues. It's going to be benefits first, salary second."

Meanwhile, seniors have several new career resources to tap. The trend toward an unretiring retirement is so strong, the University of North Carolina has created a Center for Creative Retirement, which offers weekend seminars called "Paths to Creative Retirement in Uncertain Times." (Find more details on their website at www.unca.edu/ncccr/.) A website dedicated to prolonging careers, www.2young2retire.com, features more than 70 case studies of career-changing seniors. And of course, there's AARP, which offers job listings and advice at www.aarp.org, or via telephone at (888-687-2277).