Operations Trainee - Operations Engineering Path

  • 250 Outcropping Way, Folsom, CA 95630, USA
  • Full-time

Company Description

The California Independent System Operator (ISO) manages the flow of electricity across the high-voltage, long-distance power lines that make up 80 percent of California's power grid. We safeguard the economy and well-being of 30 million Californians by operating the grid reliably 24/7.

As the impartial grid operator, the California ISO opens access to the wholesale power market that is designed to diversify resources and lower prices. It also grants equal access to 25,865 circuit-miles of power lines and reduces barriers to diverse resources competing to bring power to customers.

The California ISO's function is often compared to that of air traffic controllers. It would be grossly unfair for air traffic controllers to represent one airline and profit from allowing that company's planes to go through before others. In the same way, the California ISO operates independently—managing the electron traffic on a power grid we do not own—making sure electricity is safely delivered to utilities and consumers on time and reliably.

Job Description

Under the close supervision of the Manager, the Operations Trainee participates in a structured training program encompassing Bulk Electric System (BES) Operations, and Market Operations in Electric Power Systems and Generation resource fundamentals, including renewable and intermittent resource effects on operations.   This is a full-time training program of both classroom and hands-on instructional training that typically takes six to twelve months to complete.  Upon successful completion and graduation from the program requirements, including acquired functional and behavioral competencies, the trainee is eligible to apply for a Control Room Operator or Reliability and Market Operations Engineer position based on the needs of the CAISO.

What's In it for You

Our purpose is to lead the way to tomorrow's energy network. Make a difference and impact millions of people who depend on electricity in their everyday lives.

  • You get to work on interesting and challenging assignments that will help grow your skill set.
  • You will work in an extremely collaborative environment inside our LEED certified Folsom, California campus.
  • You will be challenged, be a part of a winning team, and your contributions will be rewarded and recognized.

What You Will Be Doing

  • Actively participates in a fast-paced learning program of formal classroom instruction, power system simulation, on-the-job training, site-visits, and self-study, including review of Basic Electricity, Substation Operations, Power Plant Operations, Interconnected Power System Operations and ISO Market Operations.
  • Completes training modules and additional required reading including books, training manuals and operating procedures within specified timeframes.
  • Demonstrates knowledge and proficiency in each area of study by qualifying scores on written and/or performance exams.  Accountable for maintaining progress through the Program on a defined schedule and periodic proficiency testing.
  • Attends supplemental programs and/or events as deemed appropriate by management.
  • Learns strategies to best support reliability and business objectives.
  • Learns fundamentals of generation and transmission maintenance, transmission system congestion and congestion mitigation. 
  • Demonstrates knowledge of operational goals, objectives, tools, EMS applications processes, and services.
  • Actively participates in multiple challenging, complex and time sensitive projects and/or a work programs.
  • Reviews, analyzes and learns appropriate responses to system conditions required to maintain the reliability and economic efficiency of the BES at the Control Center level.  
  • Successfully obtains the required NERC System Operator Certification, prior to receiving Reliability and Market Operations Engineer position.

Program Curriculum and Areas of Study: 

Fundamentals of Interconnected System Operations and Real-Time Operations of the California ISO Balancing Authority and Transmission Operations Areas.  Subjects of study include, but are not limited to: the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) approved ISO Tariff, Integrated Forward Market (IFM) Operations, Real-Time Market Operations, Business Practice Manuals, Operating Procedures, Participating Transmission Owner (PTO) Operating Procedures, North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) and Western Electricity Coordination Council (WECC) Mandatory Reliability Standards. 

Curriculum includes investigating, analyzing and solving a variety of operational issues on the Bulk Electric System (BES) through the use of Energy Management System (EMS) analysis applications such as the state estimator, dispatcher load flow, and contingency analysis.  Use of Voltage Security Analysis (VSA) and other advanced applications will be introduced.  Substantial on-the-job training under the guidance of the Real-Time Operations personnel or Operations Engineering Services personnel in preparation for specific job functions in a variety of Control Room Operations positions.


Level of Education and Discipline

  • A Bachelor's degree in Electrical Engineering, with a Power Systems Focus.

Amount of Experience

  • No direct control room operations or power systems experience required.  
  • One or more years of related technical experience is desirable.  


  • None. Must obtain required NERC System Operator Certification prior to completion of training program. 

Type of Experience

  • Recent Operations experience with California or other WECC Balancing Area, Transmission Operator (TOP), Generator Operator (GOP) or regional group that has real-time transmission operations responsibilities.   
  • Independent Power Producer, military or electronics experience preferred. 
  • Knowledge of interconnected electric system operations, various transmission engineering standards, generation, substation operations, energy distribution, Energy Management Systems (EMS) and/or Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) is strongly desired.

Additional skills and abilities

  • Demonstrated aptitude in the areas of advanced mathematics, technical, mechanical, and systems/computer applications areas required.  
  • Demonstrated high technical interest in bulk electric system operations, market operations, and initiatives pursuant to ongoing professional development.  
  • Proven fundamental good judgment with the ability to work effectively in a team environment as facilitator and team member.  
  • Must be able to work under high-pressure and stressful conditions and demonstrate the ability to exercise good judgment and discretion in routine and emergency conditions to take immediate appropriate action.  
  • Must be confident and decisive with complex decisions with a high level of personal accountability and the ability to be assertive when necessary.  
  • Strong sense of self-motivation and to learn complex information in a fast-moving, distracting and ever-changing environment.  
  • Excellent communication, analytical, multitasking skills, and flexibility.

Additional Information

All your information will be kept confidential according to EEO guidelines.