in partnership
France Tennis French _Cotl.jpg
Serena Williams of the U.S. greets spectators after winning first round match of the French Open tennis tournament against SlovakiaÂ?s Magdalena Rybarikova at the Roland Garros stadium in Paris, France, Tuesday, May 24, 2016. Williams won in two sets 6-2, 6-0. (AP Photo/David Vincent)

Serena Williams teams up with Seattle-area startup to help young Black software engineers

SEATTLE – Serena Williams is teaming up with a local startup focusing on doubling the number of Black software engineers in the United States.

Seattle-based interviewing company Karat announced Williams’ investment Tuesday in a release. The investment goes toward Brilliant Black Minds, a program Karat uses to improve access and inclusion across the technology industry.

The company and Williams say they hope this will add more than 100,000 new Black engineers in the next 10 years.

Currently, 5 percent of all software engineers are Black in the U.S., according to Karat.

Karat started Brilliant Black Minds in the hope to close the interview access gap, which they say disproportionately impacts the Black community.

“The technology industry is focused on solving some of the world’s biggest challenges,” Williams said in a release. “My focus is ensuring the solutions to those challenges are developed by all of us. There has never been a shortage of brilliance in Black America; only limits to the access and opportunities extended to our community.

“That is why I am proud to team up with companies like Karat who are taking actionable steps to bring more diversity and equity to the industry, as well as call on others to be part of the change.”

A release said the program will use Karat’s Interviewing Cloud to deliver practice, feedback and coaching help for aspiring software engineers. Currently, according to Karat, only 50 percent of Black engineers surveyed had a technical interview before taking a job.

Brilliant Black Minds is now open to all current and aspiring Black software engineers. Serena Williams is also taking over the role as "Champion of Brilliance."

This will “teach the importance of practice and building a championship mindset” to help software engineers land a job, according to the release.

"Practice is how I became a champion and how I changed the game," Williams said in a video the company posted online. "So if you are a Black software engineer, let's go."`