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Phillip came to the Davis Applied Technology Center three months ago with a second-grade understanding of mathematics and few high school credits.

Now he's dividing fractions and talking about becoming a computer programmer.The high school junior is like dozens of others who, lacking basic math and reading skills, spend time in DATC's learning-enrichment lab.

"This was the first positive experience Phillip has had in school," said JoAnn Matern, lab instructor. "He's learned that he is good enough and smart enough to succeed."

The lab, organized through an agreement between the center and Davis County, helps about 70 people a day learn basic skills they need to continue their education.

When officials first opened the computer-filled lab in January, fewer than a dozen students used it, Matern said.

"Now we're turning people away. It's filled a real need for people," she said. Single mothers, displaced homemakers and injured workers who must change jobs also use the lab to supplement other classes they are taking at the center.

Eighteen computers in the lab give many students their first introduction to computer operations.

Without the machines, the lab wouldn't be as useful, Matern said.

"Students learn their weaknesses (in basic learning skills) and then learn how to improve them," she said. "The computers can design specific lessons to help them."

Besides providing reading and math lessons, some of the computers also have software that allows students to explore 2,000 different career. The programs match a person's interests with possible careers.

The $60,000 lab is funded through DATC, Davis School District Adult Education and the Davis County Private Industry Council.

Local businesses, too, are lending support.